Conscience clause omits Catholic hospitals

A proposed conscience exemption to federal health-care rules may require Catholic hospitals to include contraception in health-care plans for employees. The bill requires full coverage of women's contraception, including Plan B and ella (both opposed by pro-life groups); the exemption applies to nonprofit religious employers that exist to instill religious values and employ and serve people of the same religion. Catholic hospitals are nonprofit but meet none of the other requirements.

Hundreds of churches lose approval

HUNGARY A law that takes effect January 1 recognizes 14 faith groups and requires almost 350 others to re-register for state approval in order to receive tax breaks and to use the title "church." The Church of God, Methodists, Pentecostals, and Seventh-Day Adventists are among the excluded. In order to re-register, faith groups must prove they have 1,000 followers and have existed for more than 20 years; then parliament must approve them by a two-thirds majority. The dominant Hungarian Reformed Church welcomed the restrictions on new groups.

School can force Christian groups open

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that San Diego State University can refuse to recognize student religious groups that limit membership to fellow believers. However, the court said the school may have unfairly singled out a Christian fraternity and sorority while allowing other groups to use race or religion as membership criteria. The policy is more common than a broader one at Hastings School of Law, where the Christian Legal Society (CLS) lost a high-profile Supreme Court appeal last year. In a related case, the CLS dropped a lawsuit against the University ...

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